That was Jaromir Jagr in the hallway a few minutes ago when I asked him if he was playing tonight.
It’s inspiring stuff. Enough for a team to rally around, even. Only one problem: it was Jagr who took himself out of the last minute last night against the Red Wings. And I’d have to check this, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t dead.
But tonight is a new opportunity against the Devils, and that’s part of the beauty of the back-to-back games. Maybe the Detroit game was the low point of the season. But at least the Rangers have new problems to worry about tonight.
“I think I’m going to be able to get Shanny the puck, and he certainly doesn’t have a lack of scoring touch,” said Avery, who will be at left wing. “Not to take anything away from what other people have done. He’s playing great. If there’s an opportunity to pass or shoot, I’m going to pass to him, that’s for sure.”
Indeed, when it comes to joining the Rangers, Avery sounded delighted, already indicating that he wants to re-sign once the season is over. Perhaps he’ll decide otherwise once he’s actually played here.
“This is where I wanted to go. If I was leaving, this was the spot. It was pretty exciting this morning even putting on the practice jersey,” he said. “I wanted to play in a big market but New Yorkers are a little more passionate about their sports. And Madison Square Garden is center stage as far as I’m concerned. If you can play anywhere, that’s the place.”
As for Avery’s reputation for outlandish statements, he said he’s learned how to reel it in. That’s bad news for guys like me. But maybe something the Rangers want to hear.
“I haven’t changed my beliefs,” he said. “I just don’t share them with you guys.”
OK, that’s all for now. More later…